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97 per cent of households respond to Census 2021

06 May 2021 : Community

The response to Census 2021 has exceeded all expectations, with 97 per cent of households across England and Wales making sure they count when it comes to local services like school places, GP surgeries and hospital beds.

This is above the pre-census target of 94 per cent, while all local authorities have seen over 90 per cent of households respond, exceeding an 80 per cent target.

For those who haven’t yet completed the simple online form, time is running out. The online questionnaire will close on 17 May.

Now the main field operation has ended, as in 2011, around 350,000 households across England and Wales will be invited to take part in the Census Coverage Survey (CCS). This short, separate, interviewer-led survey will enable the ONS to get a final view of the response rates.

“We’ve had an amazing response to Census 2021. Our information shows 97 per cent of households have responded so far – exceeding our pre-census target of 94 per cent,” the ONS’s Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell said.

“Those who have taken part have done so to ensure they are represented for their local area. I’d like to thank everyone who has filled out their form so far as well as all the community groups, organisations and local authorities who have helped us make this census a success.

“We’re in a great place as we begin our Census Coverage Survey. This is an important part of making sure the census produces the most accurate population statistics.

"It asks similar questions to the main census, just fewer of them, at addresses in a selection of postcodes across England and Wales. An interviewer will carry out the survey on your doorstep and it will only take around 15 minutes.

“The CCS is a voluntary survey, but by taking part, you will improve the quality of the information the census gathers. This, in turn, helps to plan and fund local services in your community.”

Although Census Day - Sunday 21 March 2021 – has been and gone it is not too late to respond online. It only takes around 10 minutes per person.

If you have lost the letter or have a second address you have not visited, go to www.census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for your address via SMS text message.

After 17 May, only paper questionnaires will be available.

If people refuse to take part, they could be taken to court and issued with a £1,000 fine and criminal record. The census non-compliance operation will begin on May 25.

Extensive community engagement is continuing to make sure all groups of the population are represented in the census.

Students, for example, need to make sure they have completed a questionnaire for their term-time address to help get the services they need in their university town now and in the future. Students should complete a form even if they were included on their family form at home.

People with second addresses also need to fill out a short form for their properties whether it is a caravan, holiday home or commuter flat.

From May 4, a sample of households will receive a card through the post asking them to take part in the CCS.

After that, an interviewer, following the government’s COVID-19 guidelines, will visit the address and fill in the questionnaire with you on your doorstep. The interviewer will be able to show an ID badge on a Census 2021 branded lanyard.

For more information on the CCS visit Census Coverage Survey - Census 2021.

Local census support centres have now closed, but help and paper questionnaires are still available through the census contact centre on freephone 0800 141 2021